Abdominal Pain

  • Sapna Thomas
  • Margaret F. Kinnard
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-306-48113-0_6

Abdominal pain is the most common gastrointestinal symptom for which medical evaluation is sought. It is a nonspecific, unpleasant sensation that can be associated with a multitude of conditions originating both within and outside the abdomen. Causes may range from common normal physiologic processes to life-threatening emergencies. There are many factors that contribute to the sensation and perception of pain, including underlying pathology, psychosocial disorders, and an individual’s pain tolerance. Thus, abdominal pain is one of the most complex complaints that clinicians encounter.

The sensation of pain is produced by mechanical stimuli, chemical stimuli, or a combination of both. The most common mechanical stimulus is stretch. There are stretch receptors located in the muscular layer of the hollow organs (gastrointestinal, urinary, and biliary tracts), mesentery (membranous attachment of intra-abdominal organs to the posterior abdominal wall), and in the capsule (membranous outer...


Abdominal Pain Irritable Bowel Syndrome Chronic Pancreatitis Herpes Zoster Peptic Ulcer Disease 
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Suggested Reading

  1. 1.
    Pasricha P. J., et al. (1999). Abdominal pain. In T. Yamada, D. H. Alpers, L. Laine, C. Owyang, & D. W. Powell (Eds.), Textbook of gastroenterology (3rd ed., pp. 795–815). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar

Suggested Resources

  1. 1.
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline/ency/article/003120.htmGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sapna Thomas
  • Margaret F. Kinnard

There are no affiliations available